84000 initiative

84000 : Translating the Words of the Buddha

Although I am not religious myself, I very much enjoy reading religious stories. I am fascinated by tales such as the Ramayana and teachings of the Buddha, but these wisdom-packed stories are complex to understand, even if I can read the language or the translated versions. Imagine, therefore, how much intelligence, or purely, just engaging stories, we are missing out on if these scriptures have no one to interpret.

Less than 5% of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon text is translated into a language spoken today. The number of scholars who can interpret the language, sadly, is fading away. “If we don’t act now, imagine how much wisdom might be lost forever, locked within this ancient language”, as told by Huang Jing-Rui, 84000’s executive director.”

84000 is a 10-year-old global non-profit initiative, hoping to unlock 230,000 pages of the Classical Tibetan language. In hopes of retaining these stories, to unveil knowledge of the mind, human psychology, relationships, and ethics, 84000 not only wish to translate these texts but to also make them completely free, so that the translated Tibetan Buddhist Canon can be enjoyed by the public.

What has particularly attracted us to this project is how it is not just a translation initiative, but a project that will actively integrate new technologies. With a digital library, multi-language glossaries, and bilingual reading abilities to name a few, they have also featured British actress, Joanna Lumley, as the voice of their exciting video campaign below.


Directed by: Queena Li
Produced by: Blacksugar
Voiceover by: Joanna Lumley (English), Leah Dou (Chinese)